MindJet Diary: Dymamic Display of Data from Excel

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We’ve been using MindManager to create weekly and monthly reports (status update and accomplishments maps), which we find to be a better format than PPP and  Excel dashboards.   The Excel Range function that we recently discovered is extremely helpful.  It allows us to display selected data from a parent spreadsheet residing in SharePoint on the map by creating a dynamic display.  This eliminates duplicate data entry – once a parent spreadsheet is updated, data in the spreadsheet within the map is updated automatically and there is no need to update data in the map manually.  This saves us a lot of time and helps in prevening errors that come from double entry.  We’ve been very excited about this function.

There was a problem though – a person who doesn’t have access to a parent spreadsheet will not be able to see data on the map.   I called MindJet CS and was delighted to find out that you can actually break a link to a parent spreadsheet, which in turn will convert the datasheet on the map to a static form.   It is  very easy – just right click on an Excel icon shown on a map’s spreadsheet and select Disconnect from Microsoft Excel.   Problem solved! 😎

Library Introduction Process Map

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This fiscal year that started October 1, 2009, we are looking at our business processes to see what’s been working and what’s not, and how we can apply what we’ve learned in the last few years to get better results faster. 

One of the first processes we’ve reviewed was the process of library introduction to new hires.  This is the first encounter a new employee has with the library and, as we all know,  the first impression is most lasting and thus critical to a person’s intention to use the library as a resource for his/her investment research. To help evaluate the process, we’ve turned to idea mapping, creating an idea map (or mind map) of the process.  In addition to identifying the process’ gaps, this map replaces a multiple-page Word document we used as a process description and guidelines, creating a single-page view of the process which is easy to use in preparation to the session with a new library client and as a guide during the session.

Business Process Map-Library Introduction-smaller

Awaken an Artist Hidden Inside You

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During an Idea Mapping workshop in Ft. Lauderdale, research librarians learned various techniques to improve memory, enhance thought organization and bring team collaboration  to the next level.  All participants unanimously agreed that a non-traditional workshop format and innovative teaching method of engaging both sides of the brain helped them unlock creativity and innovative thinking.  One of the workshop’s brain-boosting activities required participants to draw a portrait in 50 minutes.  Except for Carol Rinaldi, who had drawn portraits in the past, majority was rather skeptical.  Picking up Andy Garcia, Donald Trump, Merlin Monro and other faces from the pile of portrait samples, people seemed to just go with the flow. Nevertheless, aplying a learing model introduced in the first part of the workshop, they lost themselves in the creative process, and the results were spectacular!  They were all amazed with realistic portraits they though they’d never be able to draw.  It was incredible to see how far our creative minds can take us if only we allow ourselves to be more creative.  See yourself: here is Donald Trump drawn in less than 50 minutes by Martin Wood.  I’ll share more portraits in the future posts.


Librarians Learn Idea Mapping

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Franklin Templeton librarians in Ft. Lauderdale attended a two-day Idea Mapping workshop to learn the benefits of the whole-brain approach to thinking, learning and planning. That was my very first workshop as a Certified Idea Mapping Instructor, and it was a lot of fun!


Idea Mapping, also known as Mind Mapping, is a whole-brain visual tool used by business people around the world to improve productivity, innovation and performance. Idea Mapping is based on discoveries made in neuroscience. It is effective because it mirrors how our brains naturally process and associate information making meaningful connections between pieces of data.  It creates synergy between right and left cortex skills integrating logic, lines, words, lists, numbers, and sequence with color and images. Using an idea map, thoughts and ideas can be effectively captured on a single sheet of paper making it easy to see and understand a big picture while still providing a way to include important details. 

  Using Idea Maps to Learn Faster

Idea maps can be used to accelerate learning and get new employees up to speed faster. Miroslava Litwak, who joined the library a few months ago as Digital Services Analyst, is using idea maps to learn about investment concepts behind charts and graphs she creates for the library clients.  Her map of the David Dreman’s book “Contrarian Investment Strategies” demonstrates key principles behind idea mapping such as using key words, images and color.


As you can see, creation of a map begins in the center with a main topic as a key word or an image.  Branches that represent key information related to the topic radiate from the main topic and spread clockwise throughout the page so that key ideas can be seen instantly.  Color, images and symbols activate creative areas of the right brain adding more fun to the thinking process and improving information recall.


Idea Mapping Book

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There are many ways to learn about Idea Mapping (IM) and how this visual thinking and learning tool can help people from all walks of life to become better at what they do, both in business and personal lives.  If you Google “idea mapping”, you’ll get over 46000 hits.  There are many books written on the subject, particularly by Tony Buzan who’s written prolifically on the topic of mind maps, memory and creativity.  There are dozens, if not hundreds, of blogs from the idea mapping practitioners around the globe.  

Today’s growing interest in the Idea Mapping is no accident.  With increasing complexity of the world we live in, we all are looking for the right answers and better decisions, for clarity and connections.  We want to learn faster and be more effective .   Perhaps, the best way to start learning about IM is to read the Idea Mapping book by Jamie Nast.  It includes everything a beginner needs to know, with a lot of practical exaples of IM applications.  The attached idea map is the book’s visual outline demonstrating key IM concepts.  Get the book – it may become one of your best investments. 

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